Afflicted With Disfiguring Tumor, Eastern European Toddler Gets New Lease on Life with Help from City Surgeon

 – April 22, 2015  –– 

An Eastern European toddler afflicted with a disfiguring and life-threatening facial tumor can now grow up a normal girl thanks to a procedure performed by doctors at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. The girl, Guzal Ruzibaeva, was born with a hemangioma, a common infant tumor that affects one in every 10 Caucasian babies. Guzal's tumor was on her face and quickly grew so large that it left her severely disfigured. But the Ruzibaevas weren't ready to give up on their baby. They learned about a medical clinic that could treat Guzal in Moscow -- a 24-hour train ride from their rural village — and decided to make the arduous trip. At the clinic, Greg Levitin, MD, a hemangioma surgeon visiting from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, quickly realized Guzal would need multiple operations, and fast. "The type of care she was getting, the lack of intervention was greatly endangering her life," Levitin told the Daily News. "[Back in New York] I went straight to administration and said, 'We have to treat this child.'"

-Dr. Gregory Levitin, Assistant Clinical Professor, Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, Director, the Vascular Birthmark Center, Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital

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